Clay Rapada seems to be the biggest beneficiary as the lone lefty competing for a spot behind Boone Logan. However, manager Joe Girardi did not commit to Rapada and left open the possibility that the Yankees would fill one of the two open roster spots another way.
So who else might take on of the two spots vacated by Pineda and Cabral? There are a few possibilities.
There is a good chance that either Adam Warren, David Phelps, or D.J. Mitchell are added as a long-reliever. It’s hard to say which one exactly. It is possible that two of the three make the team. One scenario would be Warren or Phelps as the long-man and Mitchell as a typical middle innings reliever.
There is also Justin Maxwell and to a lesser extent Chris Dickerson. Both have solid upside as a spare outfielder. Right now the Yankees have been saying that they would use Raul Ibanez in the outfield though so until Girardi realizes he can’t play the field and makes him a strict DH this seems unlikely. However, Maxwell in particular has been playing very well in spring training and is also out of options. If the Yankees don’t use him on the major league roster he gets cut or traded. So they may consider keeping him around at least temporarily.
Two other names that stand out as potential longshots to make the roster now are Bill Hall and George Kontos.
Hall isn’t much of a player anymore, his best days are behind him, however he does bring extraordinary versatility with him which could be intriguing to Girardi. The pop in his bat coming off the bench might sway them to consider him as well.
Kontos seems like the longest shot of the group. He missed time with an oblique injury earlier in spring training, but is back on track now. Girardi’s preference has been for a long-man though so it seems that he will be fighting Rapada and the bench guys for a spot. I don’t see this one happening, but it’s a possibility so I wanted to include it.
I tend to think that Rapada will definitely make the team because he’ll be gone if he isn’t. No minor leagues for him. I think Maxwell will get serious consideration for the same reason, but unless Cory Wade starts the season in the minors, I expect Warren, Phelps, or Mitchell to get the nod over him. The Yankees have to start developing some of that young pitching at the major league level eventually.
Essentially this gives the Yankees lots of options. With a few more games before the season even gets underway, expect them to take their time in making a decision. As last night showed, injuries can happen quickly.